Udall and Tipton work toward making Monument into park

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DENVER I U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton unveiled a bipartisan proposal last week — stemming from their years-long discussion with Mesa County residents, businesses and leaders — to re-designate Colorado National Monument as a national park.
The community-driven recommendations, developed by a committee the lawmakers assembled in June 2013, reflect local residents’ and stakeholders’ concerns and interests about a possible re-designation.
“From Colorado’s earliest days, when John Otto first proposed making the Colorado National Monument a park, through today, Mesa County has discussed making these iconic red rock canyons a national park,” said Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee. “I have been proud to lead this community-driven process with Congressman Tipton, and this proposal reflects the ideas and concerns of local leaders, businesses and residents.
“I strongly urge local residents, businesses and stakeholders to study this proposal and provide us feedback,” he said. “This step will hopefully provide us with a bipartisan, common-sense way forward to honor John Otto’s original vision for the Colorado National Monument.”
“The Colorado National Monument is one of Colorado’s most scenic natural wonders and plays an important role in the lives of all who are blessed to live in the Mesa County region,” Tipton said. “When it comes to our public lands, the monument included, I believe that any possible change in designation or management should be done through a bottom-up process, driven by community support and broad consensus.
“To be clear, I have not drafted a bill in the House of Representatives to change the designation of the Colorado National Monument. Any potential legislation to change that status of the monument first must be community-driven and locally supported. I look forward to the community’s comments and ideas on the committee’s recommendations, and will take them into careful consideration as we determine what’s next.”
“The committee members were honored to represent the citizens of Mesa County for this very important task,” said Ginny McBride on behalf of the Drafting Committee. “This proposal is the product of much discussion and compromise. We look forward to hearing the feedback of the broader community.”
The release of this proposal follows nearly a year of work by the drafting committee and more than a year’s worth of work by the Colorado National Monument working group.